New Study: Is One Style of Yoga Better Than Another?

By: 
Suzannah Schindler

Yoga is becoming increasingly popular, with over 36 million practitioners in the U.S. alone.

As the number of people practicing yoga is increasing, so are the number of different yoga styles offered. A single yoga studio might offer Hatha yoga, Iyengar yoga, Hot Yoga and Restorative Yoga classes.

With so many choices to choose from, it’s easy to get confused and wonder if all yoga styles are created equally. Are you more likely to derive the many benefits of yoga if practicing one yoga style over another?

New Research Review Charts the Benefits of Yoga Across Different Yoga Styles

In a recent review of studies, researchers tried to answer the question of whether some yoga styles offer more benefits than others. Researchers reviewed 306 randomized controlled studies on the benefits of yoga from medical databases.

Within those studies, over 50 different styles of yoga were identified. The most common styles of yoga studied were:
 

  • Hatha Yoga (12%),

  • Iyengar Yoga (10%),

  • Pranayama (9%),

  • Integrated Approach to Yoga Therapy (5%)
     

Which Style of Yoga is the Best?

The results of the review determined that no one style of yoga was superior to the other; random controlled trials with 52 different yoga styles did not differ in their odds of reaching positive conclusions.

Encouragingly, 277 of the 306 studies included in the research review yielded positive conclusions. That is to say, 91% of the studies found that practicing a style of yoga produced positive benefits when compared with control groups.

In other words, the data suggests that there is no “right” or “wrong” style of yoga. You can choose your yoga classes based on availability and own your personal preference and regardless, you are very likely getting some positive health benefits by doing so.

 

Source:

Cramer, H., Lauche, R., Langhorst, J., & Dobos, G. (2016). Is one yoga style better than another? A systematic review of associations of yoga style and conclusions in randomized yoga trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, April(25), 178-187.